In the U.S., you don't have to look
hard to locate some great Pinot Noir. Here are three of the
best from the Pacific Northwest.
I must admit I had certain misplaced stereotypes about Oregon. When
I accepted an invitation to the International Pinot Noir
Celebration in McMinnville last July, I expected to be the only man
in attendance not sporting a red plaid shirt and an untrimmed
beard. "Should I pack sandals?" I asked my wife. We agreed that
sandals would be too much of a clash with my conservative blue
blazer, but I did slip a Grateful Dead box set into my
On Saturday morning I began to wander around and suss out the vibe.
Yep, there were a few pairs of Birkenstocks and even a lumberjack
beard or two. I popped into the conference room as biodynamicist
winemaker Lalou Bize-Leroy, from Domaine Leroy in Burgundy, was
explaining why she picks her grapes under a full moon.
At this point, I wandered over to a table and began to taste some
Oregon Pinot Noirs. Suddenly, it didn't matter whether the vines
has been blessed by Druids or the grapes had been harvested at the
autumnal equinox. The results were here, in the glass, and they
were pretty stunning. Here are three of my Oregonian discoveries.
I've already booked for next year.
SOKOL BLOSSER 1998, OLD VINEYARD BLOCK
Susan Sokol and Bill Blosser were oenological pioneers in the
Willamette Valley, arriving from Portland in 1971. By 1977 they
were producing some of Oregon's first commercial wines, helping set
the state's new industry in motion. Sokol Blosser became a very
successful mainstream winery, but recently, noting the growing
interest in Pinot Noir among American wine drinkers, decided to go
for the gold with a new portfolio of high-end vineyard-designated
Pinots. This is one of them.